Drouin had a decent rookie season stats wise with 4 goals and 32 points producing at a rate of 0.46 pts a game. That is not bad for a kid who was 19-years-old for most of the season and averaging just over 13 minutes a game. However, in coach Jon Cooper's eyes the problem with Drouin's game is in his own defensive zone. Like most young players, defence seems to be a big part of their game that takes longer to develop or in some cases never. Here's just how badly Cooper thinks of Drouin's defensive game as per Pierre LeBrun:
"It’s talked about and then finally the decision is made, what are the 20 guys that we think are going to help us win tonight? Sometimes he’s in that 20. Sometimes he’s not… There is more than one net in a rink. There’s two. So you have to be able to play in front of both of them. As we tell all our guys, it’s professional hockey. You have to be a pro."Tampa Bay has been a gold mine of late with prospects such as Ondrej Palet, Tyler Johnson and Nikita Kucherov becoming stars out of nowhere and pushing highly touted prospect (or Bustville candidate ) Brett Connolly out in a trade to Boston this year. Connolly was a 6th overall pick and was also projected to ride shotgun with Stamkos, but was also put in the doghouse for his defensive play and was moved before his 23rd birthday. You have to wonder if Drouin goes to bed at night wondering if he is the next Brett Connolly in Tampa Bay or just YouTube's his highlights from junior.
It wouldn't be a big surprise if Drouin spends most of next season in the AHL after only playing in 3 playoff games so far and registering zero points with a -4 rating. Toss in being passed in the depth charts by Jonathan Marchessault recently and it will be interesting to see what will happen to Drouin's career and if we will ever see him set-up Stamkos again: